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Sunday, February 06, 2005

Janklow's Fiscal Despotism

"Janklow campaign spends $3,176," Sioux Falls Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050206/NEWS02/502060322&SearchID=73198338016217, 6 February 2005.

I've writen of Janklow's despotism before. The former tribal attorney, Attorney General, Governor, Representative, and all-around dictator of the Mount Rushmore State still has his political warchest.

Former Gov. Bill Janklow spent $3,176 in the past year from a campaign account he has kept open since leaving the governor's office at the end of 2002.

A campaign-finance report that listed the spending showed $923,365 was in the account at the end of 2004.

Like all candidates with accounts from campaigns for statewide office, Janklow had to file his annual campaign-finance report with the secretary of state.

The report shows he made campaign contributions of $250 each to state Sens. Dave Knudson and Bill Earley, both Sioux Falls Republicans; spent $353 on flowers; and made a $2,323 donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Janklow resigned from the U.S. House in January 2004 after he was convicted of second-degree man-slaughter.

That he didn't give to Thune isn't surprising. Janklow's allies repeatedly tried to sink now-Senator Thune during the election, and Janklow and Daschle are personal friends. But that he spent more on flowers than to any local politician means something.

South Dakota's Constitution would allow Janklow to run for Governor again. If he runs in 2006, he would have to defeat Governor Rounds in the Republican primary, but Bill took on incumbents Abnor and Miller in primaries before. He was born in 1971, so he would still be young enough to run for Senate against Johnson in 2008 or even Governor again in 2010.

For all his faults, Bill Janklow loves South Dakota. He also loves power. And he loves to keep life interesting.

10:35 Posted in South Dakota | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: janklow

Bush to Agriwelfare: Drop Dead

"Bush Is Said to Seek Sharp Cuts in Subsidy Payments to Farmers," by Robert Pear, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/06/politics/06budget.html, 6 February 2005 (from The Corner).

Great, great, great, great news

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 - President Bush will seek deep cuts in farm and commodity programs in his new budget and in a major policy shift will propose overall limits on subsidy payments to farmers, administration officials said Saturday.

Such limits would help reduce the federal budget deficit and would inject market forces into the farm economy, the officials said.


Mr. Bush would set a firm overall limit of $250,000 on subsidies that can now exceed $1 million in some cases.


Mr. Bush's farm proposal found support from some people who frequently criticize his policies.

Kenneth Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy group, said the proposal would reduce payments to big agribusiness operations. The savings, he said, would ease pressure on Congress to cut conservation programs financed in the same legislation.


Agriculture Department officials said Mr. Bush's proposals would cut federal payments to farmers by $587 million, or about 5 percent, next year and would save $5.7 billion in the coming decade. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want to upstage the release of the president's budget, scheduled for Monday.


Farm subsidies have been a major issue in global trade talks, as poor farmers in the developing world demand that the United States and other wealthy countries cut back subsidies for their domestic producers.

Efforts to cap farm payments have produced odd alliances. Fiscal conservatives like the Heritage Foundation have joined some environmental groups and family farmers in the Midwest in supporting stricter limits. Opponents include the American Farm Bureau Federation, the nation's largest farm organization, as well as many commodity groups and politicians of both parties from rice and cotton states.


The White House proposal is a vindication of sorts for Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who has advocated "reasonable payment limits" for three decades.

"When 10 percent of the nation's farmers receive 60 percent of the payments, it erodes public confidence in federal farm programs," said Mr. Grassley, who describes himself as the only family farmer in the Senate. "Unlimited farm payments have placed upward pressure on land prices and contributed to overproduction and lower commodity prices, driving many family farmers off the farm."


But Brian M. Riedl, an economist at the Heritage Foundation, said stricter payment limits were needed because farm subsidies had become "America's largest corporate welfare program."

Yes! President George W. Bush: brining natural liberty for the first industry of every nation. If he can end farm welfare, it will be one of his many great achievements.

Unilateralist Agriwelfare

"Open border stirs opinions: U.S. ranchers worry about safety, prices as Canadians look to revive industry," by Peter Harriman, Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 6 February 2005.

South Dakota's big-government leanings continue apace:

Young Canadian cattle will begin streaming back into the United States next month, and for many ranchers and dairy farmers, it's either dangerous or about time.

On one side of the fence are U.S. ag operators and politicians who fear as many as 2 million Canadian cattle will increase the possibility of mad cow disease, knock the bottom out of livestock prices here and ruin the beef export market. The U.S. market already took one staggering hit after an imported cow from Canada was confirmed to have mad cow disease in December 2003.

Across the border, ag operators say the United States is using the fact that mad cow was discovered in Canadian beef to create an artificial trade barrier that has devastated Canada's beef producers and damaged its dairy industry.

Of course. As one who remembers the fast-food protests because they were caught selling, horror of horrors, Australian beef, how is this surprising?

What was once widespread trust and openness between the countries' livestock industries has hardened into disdainful stereotypes. And both sides have become entrenched in their positions, says Rick McRonald, executive director of the Canadian Livestock Genetics Association.

Bah-humbug. Under Governor Janklow we blockaded Canada. Several times. Begger-thy-neighborism is not new in this state.

"To allow this tidal wave of animals into the U.S. is going to be disastrous to South Dakota livestock producers," says Johnson, citing a widely used USDA estimate that 2 million Canadian cattle are ready to come to the U.S. in the next year. "It potentially undermines consumer confidence in the consumption of beef, despite the fact the U.S. has the safest, highest quality beef in the world."

Those pesky, unregulated, free-market Canadian radicals. They and their illicit drugs and their unregulated cattle market.

Logic and reason

"To say the beef isn't safe is a real problem for us," Davis says. "We raise cattle the same way Americans do. We follow the same rules. ... But the U.S. is only one positive test from being the same as us. It's a very risky game to play," he says of attempts to differentiate between the safety of U.S. and Canadian beef.

are powerless against agriwelfare infantilism.

Let's hope the Congressional leadership and President Bush stand against this.

Mike Bales' Infantilism

"Tobacco assault continues: Latest proposal: Let cities write own regulations," by Terry Woster, Sioux Falls Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050206/NEWS04/502060343/1001, 6 February 2005.

In many ways, South Dakota's reputation for individualism is overblown. The state was settled by two big government groups: Germans and Swedes. Swede-state Minnesota is famous for its "red' tradition, while the state of Bismarck, North Dakota is partially socialist. Fortunately, while Germans and Swedes are very charitable to their own they are suspicious of each other, and so ethnic distrust led to South Dakota's very small government.

Not that it can hold out forever.

PIERRE - Mike Bales started smoking at age 18. At 43, he's trying to quit, but he doubts legislative proposals to raise the cigarette tax or limit where people may smoke would be enough to make him kick the habit.

"I just don't see where that's going to ... do any good, really," said Bales, of Onida. "If government wants to step in and help, they should figure out more programs that would help people like me. I really don't think even a ban would stop it all."

Gene McCowan of Pierre supports a ban on smoking in public places, and he said a dramatically higher tax would cause at least some smokers to quit.

"I have a friend who's trying to quit. He knows it's bad for him, and he's kind of looking for that extra push," McCowan said.

What children. Impose a health mullahcracy over the state because you are a mental child. Brilliant.

I support cigarette taxes. The state clearly has an interest in reducing consumption and it is better than an income tax. But the creeping nanny-stateism is disturbing.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Frank Kloucek on Abolition of Infanticide

"Anti-Abortion Sides Split Over Legislation," by Joe Kafka, Associated Press, http://www.yankton.net/stories/020205/news_20050202014.shtml, 2 February 2005 (from CCK).

Frank Kloucek tries again to abolish infanticide

A maverick lawmaker is pushing a bill that would ban abortions, but others are promoting increased restrictions that could preface an effort next year to end abortions in South Dakota.

Sen. Frank Kloucek, a farmer from Scotland, seeks to make abortion illegal in most instances. He is the sole sponsor of a bill that would outlaw abortions unless a woman's life is in danger or she faces grave health risks.

Kloucek's measure, SB198, is nearly identical to a bill that failed last year after abortion opponents split on whether it would be constitutional and Gov. Mike Rounds vetoed it for fear that existing abortion restrictions would have been jeopardized.


Although he is the only legislator to put his name on this year's bill to outlaw abortions, Kloucek thinks others who strongly oppose abortion will vote for it. The Democratic lawmaker said the issue is black and white.

"Anybody who would vote against it is certainly not pro-life and pro-family," he said Tuesday.

The opposition comes from another wing of the life movement.

However, many members of the Legislature who oppose abortion favor a different approach. They are pinning their hopes on HB1166, which seems likely to pass because it is signed by 67 members of the 105-member Legislature.

The bill would place new requirements on doctors who do abortions. It would make them, no later than two hours before abortions, give women written information about the medical risks, emotional trauma and gestational age of the fetus; existing law requires that information to be provided at least 24 hours before an abortion.

HB1166 also would require abortion doctors to tell patients that their abortions will terminate a "living human being" and will end the constitutional relationship they have with their unborn children.

The bill also says the state has a duty to provide special protection for the rights of pregnant women.

The measure is designed to ensure that women who are thinking about abortions will more fully understand what's at stake, said Rep. Roger Hunt, R-Brandon, prime sponsor of HB1166.

"Women are having abortions and they're not fully informed about the mother's relationship with the child," he said.

Hunt and 10 of the women legislators who have added their names to the measure gathered Tuesday in the Capitol rotunda to explain their support for HB1166 and HB1233, which would establish a task force to study abortion and provide the latest medical and scientific evidence about the procedure and how it affects women.

"It is very important to lay the groundwork for what we hope in the new few years will be a complete ban on abortions in South Dakota," said Sen. Julie Bartling, D-Burke, chief co-sponsor of both bills.

Kloucek's unimpressed

Kloucek said he prayed for guidance before finally deciding to introduce his anti-abortion bill. Despite splintering within the anti-abortion ranks, he said chances of passing his bill are good.

"Here's the irony. You've got one pro-life group that was against it last year and they still don't want it. You've got another pro-life group that wanted it last year but don't want it this year. They want it next year. They're not being consistent," Kloucek said.

Until abortions are made illegal, steadfast abortion foes in the Legislature should willingly vote every year on a bill that would ban the procedure, he said.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Our Living State

"Democrat to File Ban on Abortion," by Terry Woster, Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 29 January 2005, Page B1, http://www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050129/NEWS04/501290302/1001/NEWS.

Frank Kloucek is the highest ranking opponent of the Janklow-Daschle despotism still standing in South Dakota. He was the only politician brave enough to publically criticism the Governor during his four terms. This makes his principled stand against abortion all the more gratifying

Sen. Frank Kloucek, D-Scotland, said Friday he has decided to sponsor a bill banning abortions in South Dakota. He said the measure is written to avoid problems that resulted in a similar measure being vetoed last year [for potentially legalizing some forms of abortion -- Dan].

Kloucek had said earlier in the week he was being counseled by some anti-abortion lawmakers not to sponsor the bill but to allow the 2005 session to be focused on a bill to limit th procedure. He decided against it."

The main opposition to this bill comes from Roger Hunt, who suggested bankrupting abortionists might be an easier approach

Republican Rep. Roger Hunt of Brandon was among those who had suggested the current legislative session focus not on a ban but on bills aimed at tightening restrictions on abortion.

He has introduced a measure that he said would allow a woman who had an abortion to sue the person who performed the procedure if she felt she had not been fully informed of the consequences of the action.

Kloucek rises even higher in my esteem for being a firm pro-life politician who recognizes post-conception birth control

The only loopwhole to a total ban the bill allows is the use of emergency contraceptives if done prior to a time when a pregnancy could be determined through conventional medical testing.

And, of course, Kloucek avoids the problems of last year's version

If Koucek's draft, if a federal court stopped the abortion ban because of a legal challenge, existing restrictions on the procedure would remain in effect.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Our Slave State

"Medical marijuana bill fails," by Brad Perriello, Associated Press, http://www.aberdeennews.com/mld/aberdeennews/news/10759565.htm, 28 January 2005.

Treat adults like adults? Have mercy on the sick? Not in South Dakota!

Marijuana should not be legalized for medical purposes in South Dakota, legislators decided Friday.

The House Health Committee voted 11-1 against a bill that would have allowed people with certain debilitating illnesses to use pot.

HB1109 would have given doctors permission to prescribe up to 5 ounces of marijuana for those who suffer from such diseases as cancer, glaucoma and AIDs, and for people with chronic pain, nausea or seizures.

Rep. Gerald Lange, D-Madison, said the bill provides a necessary alternative for patients who do not get relief from traditional medications.

"There are certain debilitating medical conditions that are rather untreatable by contemporary medical practices," said Lange, prime sponsor of the bill.

The measure would have required doctors to certify in writing that patients suffer from qualifying diseases and explain the risks and benefits of marijuana use to them. In addition, both doctors and patients would have had to register with the Health Department.

The excuse? It's because South Dakota, a state that blockaded Canada, the last state that fought to the Surpeme Court to allow 20 year olds to drink, a state courageously fights against Federal governments and its insane bantuland treaties, suddenly believes in federal supremacy

Charlie McGuigan, an assistant state attorney general, urged legislators to reject the bill. He said marijuana use would still be a federal crime if the bill became state law.

And let's not forget that South Dakota, a state which bitterly fought against seat-belt laws and federal speed limits, suddely cares about your health

Marijuana causes many adverse health effects, McGuigan said...

And let's not forget that South Dakota, where even our Republican Senator supports importing prescriptions from Canada, now cares about drug company profits

...adding that the active ingredient in marijuana is currently available in prescription form.


It's not your tax dollars, it's the government's tax dollars
It's not your child, it's the government's child
It's not your body, it's the government's body

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

This is very good

"This is not good," by Steve Sibson, Sibby Online, http://sibbyonline.blogs.com/sibbyonline/2005/week4/index.html#a0003360467, 26 January 2005.

I just relayed Mr. Sibson's views on abortion and added him to the blog-roll, but I disagree with him here

Looks like John Thune is joining in with the Democrats on Canadian drugs:

Today, Senators DeMint, David Vitter of Louisiana, Ken Salazar of Colorado and John Thune of South Dakota joined Representatives Gutknecht, Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, Anne Northup of Kentucky and Sherrod Brown of Ohio to roll out drug-import legislation. Vitter, DeMint, Thune, Gutknecht and Northup are Republicans.

Number one, the Democrats won’t give him credit for changing his mind on this issue as that give him crap for changing his mind on private accounts for Social Security. Lets not forget the Democrats charging Thune with being a lobbyist for drug companies. Lets see if David Kranz has enough political acumen and objectivity to point that out.

Number two, this ploy of bringing back drugs from Canada will not lower the cost of drugs in the US. It will raise drug costs in Canada, or the Canadians will do what they normally do within their socialized medical system to control costs…ration what is sent back to America.

I disagree with Steve on both points. Thune doesn't care if Democrats give him credit for this move. It is made out of pricipal.

Second, this is a classic case of arbitrage. The U.S. drug market is much freer than the Canadian drug market. Canadians act as a free rider, allowing us to subsidize drug research and thus their drug use, and the pharmaceutical companies enable this. Canada would not be warping their market if the drug companies did not let them by agreeing to go along with these extortionary prices. The drug companies should not be protected from the consequences of their actions.

With cross border trade, the average U.S. price decreases as some American substitute Canadian drugs for American drugs. This is the natural price drug companies have to pay for agreeing to subsidize Canadian socialism. What will happen next? Some combination of

1. Canada rations their drugs even more, making their system even worse
2. Drug companies force Canada to accept higher prices
3. Drug companies stop selling to Canada

I'm fine with either of these consequences. The federal government should not be in the habit of enacting trade barriers to protect Canadian socialism. And U.S. companies should not expect federal relief when they agree to help socialism in a foreign land.

I could understand if this is about governments not interfering with free trade. Then we should also be against banning imports of Canadian beef.

It is about free trade. And we should also be against banning import of Canadian beef. But for now, I'm willing to take half a loaf instead of no bread at all.

Additionally, I have to wonder if Republican opposition to free trade in (prescription) drugs is collapsing. Thune was just named deputy whip. Either Thune just stabbed the party in the back, or it's no big deal. Let's hope it is the latter.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Our Free State

"Smoking," by Chad M. Schuldt, Clean Cut Kid, http://www.cleancutkid.com/index.php?id=189, 25 January 2005.

"This Just In...," by John Lauck, South Dakota Politics, http://southdakotapolitics.blogs.com/south_dakota_politics/2005/week4/index.html#a0003351530, 25 January 2005.

Good news from the Mount Rushmore State.

In spite of efforts by health mullahs to regulate private commerce

Some would say this is a matter of public choice and an area where the government should not be involved. I am guessing protecting citizens' health is not among the functions or priorities of government in the opinion of those who hold this view.

I disagree. The paramount issue here has to be public health, and that public health can be protected and improved through the enactment of this legislation.

freedom won, and regulation went down in flames

This Just In from a state legislator who is instant-messaging to SDP. The proposed smoking ban has met its Waterloo on the House floor, failing 31-39. As I said on Mt. Blogmore, I just couldn't see this thing passing.

Hurrah! I love my state!

The efforts to band second-hand smoke are not based on science or evidence. It is built by a puritanical impulse than can exist on the left or the right. From the drug war to smoking to international yoghurt scandals (tame, but not safe for work) there is a philosophy that says "if someone is enjoying life, it must be wrong."

Besides insulting personal freedom, puritanical laws seek to undermine true decency. If we socialize uprightness, then we de-individualize it. The same thing works with religion. Francos' Spain and the Khomeini's Iran were states based on faith, and both succeeded in destroying the faith of the people.

If you want a free state, fight for a free state. If you want a decent culture, fight for a free state.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Dam Them All

"Governor summit won't gain much water leverage," Sioux Falls Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050123/OPINION01/501230301/1052, 23 January 2005.

This article combines two themes of South Dakota politics. One is a yearning to conduct an independent foreign policy. Several times under Governor Janklow we blockaded Canada, in spite of the obvious difficulty of not sharing a border with that Northern Despotism. It wasn't just symbolic, though. The Highway Patrol was quite active in interdiction activities and it caused real headaches for Canadians trying to drive through our interstate-stradling state.

The other theme is the Missouri River. The River defines the state (there is "East River is East River, West River is West River, and Never the Twain Shall Meet"), and we use it heavily for recreation and hydoelectricity. However, our desire for a high water level is constantly trumped by downstream states and the Army Corps of Engineers. While downstream states use the river only for shipping, and that traffic is minuscule, that special interest lobby has enough influce in Washington to prevent rational water management. During the last gubernatorial election, the President of the University of South Dakota suggested South Dakota and other northern states simply buy-out the downstream barge industry. The victor, Mike Rounds, is working with other states, but with little progress.

In that context, the Sfal's modest proposals:

Gov. Mike Rounds has proposed another summit with eight governors from Missouri River states.

The goal would be to get everyone together and persuade the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to keep more water in South Dakota reservoirs this year.

He's proposed keeping more water as a method - during drought - of ensuring a better barge season next year. It also would help recreation in upstream states.

While the governor will have a tough sell with downstream states ...

Oh, who's kidding whom? There's no way in the world we'd persuade Missouri and Iowa, especially, to go along with such an idea.

The corps won't help. It's already has flatly rejected Rounds' suggestion.

And we can't expect any aid from Congress.

So getting some governors together to flap their jaws - never agreeing - won't accomplish anything.

Maybe it's time for South Dakota to take the bull by the horns. It seems we've got two choices:

# Rounds can call out the National Guard - once they all return from Iraq - and we can take over the dams. After all, they're run by the Army's engineers, not the Green Berets.

# Or we can build our own dam and trump the corps.

The second option seems best. There might be some objection to an armed insurrection. The USA Patriot Act probably has a provision against it.

If we built our own dam on the lower stretch of the river, we'd have the hand on the final spigot.

Why not? Governor, the ball's in your court.